Tag Archives: billion

What happened to the £3 billion Johnson paid for ‘missing’ Covid-19 contracts?

Spaffer: Boris Johnson has thrown billions at private consultants and contractors – but now it’s time to show where the money has gone, and it seems he can’t.

This is what comes of spaffing public money indiscriminately to your Tory mates and getting nothing back in return!

A cross-party consortium of Labour, Lib Dem and Green MPs have filed for a judicial review after the Johnson government failed to disclose details of £3 billion worth of Covid-related contracts.

These will be contracts made under the emergency system in which private firms are not invited to tender; instead, Johnson and his cronies have been shovelling money to their Tory mates, to provide multi-million pound services using start-up firms or companies that have been as good as dead for years.

Last month the Department of Health said £11 billion of contracts had been agreed between April 1 and September 7 – mostly related to Covid-19.

But analysis of publicly-available contracts information showed less than £8 billion of contracts awarded by the government.

It seems the government is taking 72 days on average to publish contract details online – despite a legal duty to do so within 30 days.

So the question arises: what are Johnson and his cronies trying to hide?

The Department of Health and Social Care has said it is committed to transparency and is working through its backlog of contracts with a view to publishing them “in due course”.

Is that after they’ve been doctored to remove any evidence of foul play?

It’s a reasonable question to ask, in the circumstances.

It’s incredible that Johnson, Matt Hancock and their buddies have splurged our money away in such a cavalier manner – and what have we got to show for it?

This Writer would like to see a full audit of all £11 billion worth of contracts, with details of whether they were honoured in an acceptable manner.

I think the result of such an audit could be highly embarrassing for Spaffer Johnson.

Source: Tories face legal challenge over £3bn of ‘missing’ coronavirus contracts – Mirror Online

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Whoever says scrapping 213 smaller councils could save £3 billion hasn’t been paying attention to Tory spaffing

Rubbish: who does the bins in your council area? A private firm? Expect much more privatisation if smaller councils are scrapped; the £3 billion we’re told would be saved has to be spent somewhere!

It seems some people really do have a blind spot.

Whoever wrote the report that says the following, for example:

Abolishing 213 smaller councils in England and replacing them with 25 new local authorities could save almost £3bn over five years, a report says.

The report for the County Councils Network says one body in each area would reduce complexity and give communities a single unified voice.

However, others argue bigger councils are unwieldy and undemocratic.

It’s a good point that bigger councils may be unwieldy and undemocratic, but the better point is that they won’t save a penny while we have a Tory government.

The money will be spent outsourcing decision-making to private consultants like PwC, Deloitte and McKinsey, and outsourcing work to private firms like Serco – who will probably go bust because they habitually offer to do it for too low a price after the bosses and shareholders have taken their enormous cut of (council taxpayers’) cash.

If this happens, just watch what happens and see if I’m right.

Source: Scrapping 213 local councils could save £3bn says report – BBC News

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You’d better prepare for a Covid-19 second wave disaster because the Tories aren’t going to

Rishi Sunak: he won’t give the NHS any more cash because the Tory story is that Covid-19 is over.

Is anybody surprised that Rishi Sunak is refusing to give the NHS £10 billion to prepare for an expected new wave of Covid-19 infections?

The Tory narrative is that Covid is over.

Their government is sending people back to work, despite the number of deaths per day still being higher than when lockdown started. Tory donors are tired of going without their huge daily profits so the rest of us are being forced back to work, whether it kills us or not.

The pubs reopening, and the beaches being open before them, are just a means for the Tories to excuse themselves. They’ll say that any deaths arise from people’s leisure experiences, not from being forced back to work too soon.

Of course, putting money towards the treatment of renewed infections runs against this story – so Sunak won’t do it.

It doesn’t matter how many plebs die as a result.

NHS bosses have accused the chancellor, Rishi Sunak, of breaking a pledge to give the health service “whatever it needs” after he refused to provide a £10bn cash injection needed to avoid it being crippled by a second wave of the coronavirus.

They have warned ministers that without the money the NHS will be left perilously unprepared for next winter and the second spike in infections which doctors believe is inevitable. Nor will they be able to restart non-Covid services or treat the growing backlog in patients needing surgery.

The row piles pressure on Sunak to find more money for the NHS ahead of his summer statement on Wednesday.

The NHS England chief executive, Simon Stevens, has told the Treasury that it needs at least £10bn in extra funding this year to cover the costs of fighting the virus and reopen normal services. The money would mean the NHS could create extra beds in hospitals, keep the Nightingale facilities on standby, send patients to private hospitals for surgery and provide protective equipment for frontline staff.

Source: NHS chiefs in standoff with Treasury over emergency £10bn | Society | The Guardian

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Firms that falsified thousands of benefit assessments set to get contracts to falsify thousands more

With apologies to the makers of The Simpsons.

Can anyone think of a single rational explanation for the plan to renew the contracts for Atos and Capita to carry out assessments of sickness and disability benefit claims?

Between them, over the last two years, these firms deliberately falsified around 7,300 claims in order to deny disabled people vital payments, forcing them towards poverty and the worsening of their conditions.

Who knows how many of these people have been induced to end their own lives as a result of this discrimination?

But instead of penalising the perpetrators by removing their contracts, the Tories are planning to pay them more than £1 billion to continue their persecution for three more years after their current contract runs out in 2021.

Who knows how many more claims they’ll be able to falsify, doctor or otherwise fake in that time? How many deserving people they’ll drive to poverty? How many will die?

Source: Discredited firms poised to rake in more than £1 billion from new PIP contracts – Disability News Service

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Chancellor’s Budget splurge reveals media hypocrisy


It seems Rishi Sunak has announced spending worth £640 billion in his Budget speech on Tuesday – to rapturous applause from the Tory-supporting media.

That’s £140 billion more than the £500 billion offered by Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell in their Labour election manifesto last year – that the same media voices ridiculed in a (successful) bid to get more people to vote for the Tories.

What has changed in less than four months, to make the Tory offer praiseworthy when Labour’s was dangerously reckless?

And where’s the money coming from, that wasn’t available before?

That’s what they’re asking on the social media:

https://twitter.com/LKTranslator/status/1238043747201568768

And doesn’t this announcement prove the truth of this comment?

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Another billion-pound scandal over ‘serially botched’ sickness benefits

This is from the UK Parliament website – verbatim. Straight from the horse’s mouth:

New figures published today by the Work and Pensions Committee show the “wholly unacceptable” costs of “serially botched” administration of ESA payments to disabled people. DWP has begun the process of fixing years of underpayments to vulnerable claimants but it has become clear the errors persisted well after the Department claimed to have corrected the underlying problem.

Costs of “protracted error” continue to mount

In February the Committee wrote again to the Department for an update on the costs of this protracted error, after DWP admitted that the number of staff in DWP working on the systemic errors had tripled from 400 to 1,200. It was also at that point that it was forced to admit that even after new guidance had been issued to staff in 2015 in an attempt to correct the problem, 30,000 extra cases had been identified where it was possible the same error resulting in underpayment had been made.

In the response published today, DWP reveals that of the 1200 staff assigned to fixing the huge administrative error, 400 are new, additional staff recruited specifically for this exercise. It shows that just running the exercise  – if it ends next year as forecast – will cost an additional £40 million. The total cost, including making up what is owed to claimants, is expected to near £1bn.

Chair’s comments

Commenting today, Rt Hon Frank Field MP, Chair of the Committee, said:

“ESA has taken another disastrous turn. Having made it through the awful, painful, error-ridden assessment process run by the private contractors who can so rarely hit a target, through the miserable and lengthy reconsideration and appeal process that is so costly to taxpayers and claimants alike, tens and perhaps hundreds of thousands of disabled people still lost out on money they were owed. Now DWP has been forced to admit that just the admin of fixing its own catastrophic incompetence is going to add another £40 million to the cost of this serially botched operation. Imagine what that money could have done instead for families across the country who are struggling to feed their children and heat their homes.

You might think that this shameful, damaging waste would at least focus minds at DWP on making sure this never, ever happened again. But we are already starting to hear about people whose incomes have been slashed because they’ve been wrongly advised to claim Universal Credit, and there’s no way back. If Ministers want to avoid another billion pound scandal, they need to get a grip on this – and fast.”

DWP resource allotment

In February, the Chair asked “how the Department has made these resources available – in particular, what work have you had to stop or deprioritise in order to deploy 1,200 staff to this exercise?”. The questions, including the request for an estimate of the total administrative cost – i.e. excluding the arrears themselves – of reviewing and correcting the underpayments came as DWP published figures showing it had:

  • begun the process of reassigning 310,000 claimants’ ESA payments
  • paid arrears of over £328 million to 58,000 people
  • increased the number of staff working on the years of mistakes from 400 to 1,200
  • revised the expected near £1bn cost of the process to March 2020 down slightly, from £970m to £920m.

The Permanent Secretary states in this latest letter that “we have not had to stop or deprioritise other customer activity in order to complete this review”. He does not, however, address the question of what other work DWP could have done if it had not had to hire 400 new staff, deploy 1200 total and spend £40m on this exercise.

Terrible failures in assessment process

In 2017 the Committee picked up on the original NAO report uncovering years of significant underpayment to vulnerable, disabled claimants of ESA, in the aftermath of the Committee’s work on the terrible failures in the assessment process for ESA and PIP benefits. In July 2018 the Chair commented on the huge leap in the number of cases of underpayment requiring investigation and possible correction, from 70k to a quarter of a million.


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Tories have thrown half a billion pounds away on their admittedly-failed probation privatisation

‘Failing’ Grayling: Charged with reforming the Probation Service in 2014, he ended up ruining it.

Conservatives really don’t understand the way money works in a modern economy, do they? All they can do is throw it at rich privateers and hope they can carry out public functions.

Well, as Chris Grayling’s pathetic privatisation of probation services has proved, they can’t.

This Site reported on the fiasco in January. I wrote:

If you take money to do a job and don’t actually do it, you’re in breach of contract.

Sure, and part of the disaster was caused by HMG. The idea was to give 21 companies £3.7 billion until 2022 to handle and help prisoners serving 12 months or more who are at low risk of self-harm.

But it seems people like Messrs Heaton and Spurr had overestimated the number of low risk ex-offenders leaving prison and underestimated the number of high risk ex-offenders who are still being helped by the publicly run probation service

It means the private companies were dealing with fewer people, so they’d get less money – £1.6 billion less. This put them in financial difficulty.

It also transpires that these companies were also complete and utter failures at the job – so bad, according to inspectors, that they may as well not exist.

So why has the Tory government agreed to spend £342 million keeping them in business and in-contract?

The state should be demanding its money back from these privateers. They’re in breach of contract.

Now, a mere six months later, the Tories are throwing another £170 million at the same companies – to buy itself out of its contracts.

That brings the total spent on keeping duff companies in business up to £500 million – half a billion pounds.

Yet Tories are happy to let other businesses go to the wall. Is it because those firms’ bosses don’t wear the Old School Tie, or don’t belong to the right familes – or what?

According to Sky News:

Agreements with 21 Community Rehabilitation Companies (CRCs) to manage low-risk offenders will now end in 2020, two years earlier than planned.

CRCs were part of a major part-privatisation programme for England and Wales introduced in 2014 by former justice secretary Chris Grayling.

Under the reorganisation, the publicly run National Probation Service (NPS) dealt with the most high-risk offenders, while the supervision of low and medium-risk offenders was farmed out to privately run CRCs, who secured contracts worth almost £4bn over seven years.

Many of the CRCs were struggling to manage their caseloads with the resources available, with whistleblowers warning the public were being put increasingly at risk.

The reforms also came under attack last month by the House of Commons justice committee, who stated the probation service was in a “mess” after the reorganisation failed to meet its aims.

The current 21 CRCs will be slimmed down to 11 that are closely aligned with NPS regions. Ten will remain private, with the one in Wales merged with the NPS.

The £170m cost includes £110m the CRCs owe the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) in fines for failing to meet performance targets.

They will be allowed to keep the cash to reinvest in services to keep them going for the last two years of their contracts.

The MoJ will also pay £22m in both years for “through the gate” services helping offenders immediately after they are released from prison.

Mr Gauke admitted the amount of work available for CRCs “has been lower than anticipated and that has had an impact in terms of their income and the services they are able to provide”.

That actually saved taxpayers £300m because the MoJ budgeted to pay firms £2.5bn by 2020 and had only paid out £2.2bn.

Mr Grayling has recently been dubbed “failing Grayling” by critics as he battles with major rail disruption in his current job as transport secretary.

That last line is included for its wild inaccuracy – This Site was calling him “failing” Grayling at least five years ago, as you can see by visiting this article.

Now, I was going to comment on this nightmare, but I find that Shadow Justice Secretary Richard Burgon has already said it all for me:

“This announcement is further evidence that the Conservatives’ decision to outsource whole swathes of probation to the private sector has created an unprecedented crisis in the system. This ideological experiment has been a costly failure, just as Labour warned it would be.

This decision to throw more good money after bad and the government’s re-commitment to a privately-run probation service shows that the Conservatives have run out of all ideas on how to fix their broken system. Delaying this announcement until parliament closed for the summer is a tacit admission by the Government that its probation policies can’t withstand the slightest scrutiny.

With a Labour government there will be no more bailouts for failing private probation companies. Labour is fully committed to returning the probation system to the public sector. The Tories should do likewise and create a probation system that prioritises keeping the public safe rather than boosting the profits of private companies.”

It will never happen under the Conservatives. Privatisation is their religion – and they don’t care how many people they harm while paying tribute to their false god.

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